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Here at Our Sleep Guide, we are passionate about great sleep. One of the key ideologies to getting great sleep, is to have a consistent schedule. This becomes nearly impossible once daylight saving comes around. Suddenly you have to sleep in later or wake up an hour earlier. This seemingly small change can really throw off your sleep schedule that you have worked so hard to attain. We have some general reminders for daylight saving, along with our top tips on how to get great sleep during daylight saving time.
Typically, daylight saving in the spring is the most difficult for people. This is because as you spring forward an hour, you often get one less hour of sleep. Making your wakeup call a bit more difficult than usual. The mass majority of our sleep tips will be for those who struggle with waking up earlier.
When does it happen?
More or Less Sleep?
Most people find daylight savings in fall to be far easier to adjust to than in the spring. This is because falling back gives you an extra hour to sleep in and start your day. Although some morning people out there find that they end up waking up too early and struggle to sleep in. (Don’t worry early birds, we have some tips for you too.)
When does it happen?
More or Less Sleep?
One way to make the adjustment to your new daylight savings schedule, is to adjust early. The week before daylight savings, start waking up an hour earlier. (This is best suited for the spring time, you don’t want to be waking up an hour late in the Fall.) By adjusting earlier, you will have more time in the morning to wake up without rushing.
Instead, you can slowly adjust to your new wakeup time. You can drink your coffee, enjoy your morning as you slowly wake up. This way if you have a slip up and sleep in, you can still wake up on time to get to work.
This is good to do with kids and teenagers as well. Especially, as they have a more difficult time adjusting to new sleep schedules.
Often times, as adults we choose to simply go to sleep when the mood strikes us instead of adhering to a set bedtime. However, our bodies would function much better if we were to stick to a more routine sleep schedule.
If you have a time in which you typically are in bed by, adjust this time accordingly for daylight savings. This is of course especially important in the spring when you are losing an hour of sleep. (gaining an extra hour in the fall is really more of a gift then something you need to adjust to.)
In the Spring when daylight savings comes around, get to bed around an hour or so earlier than usual. This will make it much easier then simply going on with less sleep and attempting to adjust later.
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Your circadian rhythm takes notes from external stimulus. Not only does the sun rising and setting affect your wake and sleep patterns so do things like your eating schedule and even when you drink your caffeine. Be sure to adjust your caffeine intake accordingly. You may even be tempted to drink a second (or third, or fourth…) cup of coffee in the afternoon during the adjustment period because you are feeling more tired than usual.
However, we suggest that you actually adjust your coffee break to be at the earlier time that you would normally drink your coffee. Try to avoid drinking more coffee later in the afternoon or evenings as it can make falling asleep earlier in the evenings more difficult.
Considering cutting out caffeine? Click here to learn more about how it could help you sleep.
Like we mentioned briefly earlier, your circadian rhythm takes signals from your eating schedule. If you typically eat dinner two to three hours before bed.
Make sure you shift your dinner to be two to three hours before your bed time. This way your body is picking up the correct signals of when you will be heading off to sleep.
As you may realize reading more and more of these tips. In order to make the transition as easy as possible, you want to send as many signals as possible that your routine is the same, but shifted by an hour.
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This is a hack that we have fallen in love with over and over again. We highly recommend getting an alarm clock that can be set to rise and set like the sun.
These alarm clocks can be set to slowly turn on the lights in your room in order to slowly and naturally wake you up in the same way the sun does.
These alarm clocks are very affective and help your brain to wake up naturally by triggering your circadian rhythm. Instead of jolting you awake in the wake traditional sound based alarm clocks do. This way you wake up feeling relaxed and ready to start the day.
Learn more how your circadian rhythm works in our post: Chronotypes: Your Circadian Typology
When you have lost even as little as an hour of sleep in a night, it can be difficult to get through the whole day without a nap. While a quick nap can be a great way to top up on rest and make it through your day, make sure it isn’t too long. Around 15 – 20 minutes naps are a good top up on energy without getting into deeper REM sleep.
Once you get into around 30 minutes to an hour-long nap, you risk getting into a deep REM cycle. If you wake up in the middle of a REM cycle, you will end up feeling more tired than before you took your nap. It can also make it more difficult to get to sleep early in the evening as well.
Learn more about the art of napping in our post: The Art Of Napping: The Long & Short Of Naps
If you do not already have a set routine that you do every night to let off steam before heading off to sleep, we highly recommend it. Routines can help immensely when it comes to getting a great night’s sleep. It is one of the reasons that adjusting to daylight savings can be such a hassle.
We suggest choosing a couple easy to accomplish nightly routines to do before bed each night. Turning off the TV and reading for an hour or so, listening to music and taking a bath, some nightly meditation each night. Whatever it is that makes you feel calm and ready to go to sleep.
A great way to shift into a new sleep schedule, whether it is daylight savings or sleeping in a new time zone, is taking melatonin. If your internal clock is very strictly set, and it is very difficult to go to sleep earlier than usual, then taking melatonin 30 minutes to an hour before your new bedtime can help induce sleep naturally.
You may need to take melatonin like this a few nights in a row before your circadian rhythm catches on to the new bed time. However, this technique usually works rather well at smoothing out the transition to your new schedule.
Learn more about melatonin in our post: A Guide To Using Melatonin
While most people struggle more in the springtime with losing an hour of sleep, some morning birds out there find it difficult to remain asleep for the extra hour in the fall.
Leading to extra early mornings with too much time on their hands. While this typically works itself out within a few weeks. We do have some tips for you as well.
First, break most of our rules and use blue light devices and other entertainment in order to stay up an hour later than your usual bedtime.
If you need to, stay out of the house and have some fun. It is easier to keep yourself from passing out, when you are in public instead of cozy on your couch. This will help to stay up later than usual and potentially even stay asleep longer.
If you still wake up early, stay in bed even after you have woken up early. This probably feels unnatural and strange for most of our early birds out there. However, it will help to train your brain that we still have an hour of rest until it is time to go.
If you simply start getting up, drinking coffee, and starting you day like normal. Then your body and mind will simply continue to wake up an hour early every morning.
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This answer can vary drastically from person to person. While some people can change up their sleep schedule every other day with ease, others thrive with consistency and find change to be difficult and disrupting.
As a rule of thumb, we say give it a few weeks and if you are still struggling, talk to you doctor to make sure nothing else is going on. Your circadian typology can also greatly affect how you adjust to daylight saving.
The truth of the matter is that this is a temporary situation and no matter what your body is going to naturally adapt to your new schedule. However, we hope our tips and tricks help you get great sleep during daylight savings. As well as making the transition to your new sleep schedule as seamless and effortless as possible.
Have a question for us? Send us a message throughout our Contact Us page. We would be happy to help out in any way we can.